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Civil Liberties Committee Supports Visa-Free Agreement With Kosovo

The European Parliament on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs has endorsed the short-stay visa freedom agreement with Kosovo, giving this Balkan country the green light for the final adoption of the legislation that will permit Kosovars to travel visa-free to EU countries.

Through a statement provided by the European Parliament it was emphasised that with 47 in votes in favour, eight against as well as four abstaining, the EP Committee showed its support towards the agreement that permits holders of Kosovo passports to travel visa-free to EU countries for a period of 90 days in any 180-day period.

“Work on the file started during the 2014-2019 legislature, and Parliament closed its position at first reading at the end of that term. Following the December trilogue deal and the adoption by the Council of its first reading position on March 10, Parliament is set to give its final approval during the 17-20 April plenary session in Strasbourg,” the statement reads, reports.

Authorities in EU countries previously agreed for the visa liberalisation process for Kosovo to become effective on January 1, 2024.

Previously, France proposed that Kosovo’s visa liberalisation process be linked with the functionalisation of the European Travel Information and Authorisation Process (ETIAS), while the proposal was backed by Sweden, Belgium, Netherlands as well Spain.

Recently it was reported that the ETIAS date was once again postponed, however, an EU official told that such a decision will not affect the date when citizens of Kosovo can travel without visas to EU countries.

In addition, the Council of the European Union adopted its position at first reading regarding the issue, while it was emphasised that the lifting of visa requirements for Kosovars would apply as of the date when ETIAS would become effective or January 1, 2024, whichever comes first.

“Kosovo has made great efforts to improve its security and migration management and to align its visa policy with that of the EU. We hope our cooperation in these fields will continue to be fruitful,” Maria Malmer Stenergard, the Swedish Minister for Migration, said.

Due to the fact that a large number of countries still do not recognize Kosovo as an independent country, Kosovo’s passport remains at the bottom of the list in the VisaGuide.World Passport Index which ranks passports of a total of 199 countries worldwide.

The index shows that Kosovo’s passport holders are only eligible to travel visa-free to nine countries and passport-free to only five countries, while the country occupies the 196th position.



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